The American Film Market is currently under-way and Summit Entertainment used the event to unveil some promotional material for Pompeii, a movie based on the world’s most famous volcanic eruption which killed over 10,000 people in 79 AD.
Paul W. S. Anderson (The Three Musketeers, Resident Evil: Afterlife) is directing, which isn’t encouraging, although Julian Fellowes, writer of the acclaimed ITV drama Downtown Abbey and The Young Victoria, is currently rewriting the script. Anderson may be able to pull it off with a decent script as Pompeii has the potential to be an epic and emotional tale given the subject matter.
Here’s the synopsis:
It’s late summer in 79 A.D. and the city of Pompeii glitters at the foot of the mighty Mt. Vesuvius. MILO, the slave of a shipping tycoon, dreams of the day he will buy his freedom and marry his master’s daughter, COLUMBA. What he doesn’t know is that Columba’s debt-ridden father has promised Columba to a despicable Roman Senator to pay off an overdue loan.
Milo does know that his friend, the Gladiator NIGELLUS, is being forced to compete the next day in a seemingly unwinnable battle in the Coliseum. As Milo tries to find a way to save his friend, he learns that Columba has been promised to another man and that he himself has been sold to a new master. Just as it seems things can’t get any worse, Mt. Vesuvius suddenly explodes with the power of 40 nuclear bombs, sending a torrent of 1,000-degree ash and smoke into the city. Lava flows down the mountainside, killing thousands. As Pompeii crumbles, Nigellus is imprisoned inside the Coliseum, Columba is locked inside her family’s villa, and Milo is trapped aboard a ship bound for Naples.
As the people of Pompeii flee the obliterated city, Milo is determined to return to it to save his friend and his beloved Columba. With fire and ash destroying the only world he’s ever known, an ordinary man is tested to his breaking point in this heart-pounding tale of extraordinary heroism.
In an interview with Collider last month Paul W. S. Anderson said the intention is to shoot next year after he’s finished shooting Resident Evil: Retribution. As well as a young love story, he hopes to focus on the political climate and technological developments of the time, and said he’s taken notes from James Cameron’s Titanic, whereby the audience are already “immersed” in the characters and story before the big disaster comes along.
We’ll probably start hearing more details and casting news early next year.